What is naloxone?​

​Naloxone is a life-saving medication used to reverse an opioid overdose, including fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioid medications.

Naloxone can be quickly given through nasal spray (Narcan®) in the nose, or through an injectable or auto-injector into the outer thigh or another major muscle.

Naloxone is safe and easy to use, works almost immediately and is not addictive. Naloxone has very few negative effects, and has no effect if opioids are not in a person’s system.

Where to get naloxone?

Narcan® nasal spray is available without a prescription at many pharmacies, convenience stores, grocery stores and online.

Qualified organizations
People who use drugs
Anyone can get naloxone from a pharmacy or from a local organization that has a naloxone distribution program, such as a local opioid or overdose safety coalition or a syringe services program.
The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) provides naloxone to qualified organizations to distribute naloxone within communities. Learn more by visiting the Naloxone Distribution Project.
If you are a person who uses drugs and you do not have a resource in your community, you may be able to access mail-based naloxone through Next Distro.

Is there any liability if I assist someone who is overdosing?

No. California has two laws that protect individuals against liability when responding to an opioid overdose.

California’s Good Samaritan Law (Health and Safety Code § 1799.102) establishes that a person cannot be liable for any civil damages that result from providing of emergency care, such as reversing an overdose, if:

  • The person acted in good faith and not for compensation
  • The person provided either emergency medical care or nonmedical care
  • The care was provided at the scene of an emergency.

Naloxone Resources

Learn about harm reduction strategies:

Harm reduction is an approach to working with people who use drugs that aims to reduce harm rather than eliminate risk. Harm reduction offers resources for safer and managed drug use to help prevent death, injury, disease and overdose. Below is a list of harm reduction strategies and resources for people who use drugs. 

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